July 2018 Safari Sightings - The Blue Whale Bonanza!

What a month we have had on the water! If you’d told us at the start of the month that we’d have over 20 sightings of blue whales over the coming weeks, we wouldn’t have believed you. That in itself is the magic of whale watching in the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park. You can never truly predict what we’re going to see on any particular safari.

Some special highlights of this month’s blue whale encounters include watching a cow and calf pair feeding, getting some fluke action from that same mother, and on some afternoons being surrounded by up to 12 whales at once!

Some of our footage was featured in the media which you can see and read about here.

For us, blue whale sightings over the past 12 months have skyrocketed. We are assisting researchers at the Marine Mammal Institute (Oregon State University) in their work by contributing our photos and associated data. This data will help them learn more about this (relatively) newly discovered blue whale population here in New Zealand.

Throughout this month we have also seen our regular Bryde’s whales. Dolphin-wise we have encountered all three of our regulars: common dolphins, orca and bottlenose dolphins.

Due to a declining North Island population, encounters with bottlenose dolphins are being restricted. As part of our operating permit we continue to collect data on this species if we cross paths with them, so we can keep contributing to the knowledge of this endangered species.

During August we’ll be keeping our eyes peeled for the last of the migratory humpbacks passing New Zealand on their northbound journey. Usually our humpback whale encounters take place during their southbound travels, but after this crazy month, who knows what we might see next!

Things you can do: